NYT: Decision "A Historic Event, a Defining Moment”
The New York Times called the decision a "historic event, a defining moment in the ever-shifting balance of power." Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling.
- Ben Wizner: "It's a very important decision today. And we have to remember what Guantanamo is. Guantanamo was an attempt on behalf of the administration to create an island outside the law; to bring these detainees to a place where no law applied to them and where the United States could do whatever it wanted to them. And what the Supreme Court said today is that even in Guantanamo Bay, U.S. law and international law apply, and if we're going to try these people for crimes, we have to try them under a legal system - not a system that we make up as we go along."
Scalia, Alito, Thomas Back Military Tribunals
Voting in favor of the military tribunals were three justices: Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. For the first time in his 15 years on the court Thomas read part of his dissent from the bench. He said the court’s decision would ’sorely hamper the president’s ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy.’” Chief Justice John Roberts abstained from the case because he had ruled on the case in favor of the military tribunals when he served as a federal judge. Unknown at the time of that ruling was that Roberts was already being interviewed by the White House for a seat on the Supreme Court.
Justices Say U.S. Must Follow Geneva Conventions
The impact of the case is expected to go well beyond Guantanamo as the justices ruled that the so-called war on terror must be fought under international rules. Legal experts say the ruling challenges the Bush administration’s legal defense of harsh interrogation methods, the CIA’s secret prisons and the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program. The court ruled that the Geneva Convention must apply to detainees captured in the war on terror. [The Los Angeles Times reported “The real blockbuster in the Hamdan decision is the court's holding that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention applies to the conflict with Al Qaeda — a holding that makes high-ranking Bush administration officials potentially subject to prosecution under the federal War Crimes Act.”] In Thursday’s ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote “the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction.”
84% of National Security Experts Say U.S. Not Winning War on Terror
A new poll of one hundred leading counter-terrorism and national security experts has found that 84 percent believe the U.S. is not winning the war on terror. And 87 percent of the experts said the war in Iraq is hurting the global antiterrorism campaign. The poll was conducted by the magazine Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress. One former CIA official who described himself as a conservative Republican, said the war in Iraq has provided global terrorist groups with a recruiting bonanza and a valuable training ground